12 Aug 2013

Oracle stripped of trophies

1:30 pm on 12 August 2013

Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton says he is stunned by revelations that Oracle Team USA AC45 yachts competing in the previous four America's Cup World Series regattas were illegal.

On July 26 boat builders who were preparing the AC45 yachts for the Youth America's Cup regatta reported that the forward kingpost on one yacht was unusually heavy.

The Measurement Committee inspected the kingpost which appeared to be filled with a resin/ballast slurry of some type.

Subsequently, OUTSA construction manager Mark Turner confirmed that the three AC45s maintained by the team had been modified in a similar fashion - the other two by the insertion of bags of lead shot into the kingpost.

The yachts were Ben Ainslie Racing, which was on loan from Oracle and maintained by them, Oracle Racing Spithill and Oracle Racing Coutts.

On August 5, Regatta Director Iain Murray protested to the Jury alleging breaches of the AC45 class rule based on the measurement committee's report.

A day earlier OTUSA had filed a report to the Jury related to these matters

On August 7th, Ben Ainslie Racing withdrew from ACWS regattas held at San Francisco in August and September 2012 and at Naples in April this year.

Ainslie says he had no knowledge whatsoever that the boat was being raced out of measurement.

The following day OTUSA followed suit with the addition of the Newport, Rhode Island, regatta in June 2012.

The Jury has ordered the regatta director to re-score the regattas and the season championships in both years.

OTUSA and BAR have 14 days to return all prizes, awards and trophies.

Oracle says the modifications were made over a year ago by a small number of team members involved in the AC45 circuit, without the knowledge of management or the skippers, and without having followed standard internal procedures.